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Chapter 1: There are places I remember…
Twenty Five years later and she was still in love. Painfully, heartbreakingly, in love. Something she hated to admit, even to herself. When had Gail moved on? She wasn’t sure. Maybe it was the job, or their different goals, or the broken straight girl with the core of steel she had fallen hard for so long ago, and slowly watched wall herself off from their love, from her touch, from anything that might penetrate her hard won sense of autonomy. She remembered the night when Gail had silently, stoically, packed her bags and left her standing in the middle of their home, clutching her sweater around herself, tears running down in waves, with just an icy look back and a cutting remark. And now, here she was, back in their city, so familiar and yet so foreign to her after all this time. She had changed too, softer now around the belly and the hips, dark hair streaked with silver, more lines on her face. It had been five years since she had sold the house and moved, fled really, to the farthest place she could imagine without losing herself. They hadn’t spoken since. Old habits die hard, somehow her feet had brought her here.
When she left, she had thrown herself into her work, into her new job, in her new city, with a single minded intensity. Her research, her writing, her innovations in her field of study had left her with high praise, academic accolades, long hours, few friends and only the dead to keep her company on most nights. She should be fast asleep by now on the luxurious sheets and comfortable bed of the posh hotel where she was giving her lecture in the morning. She hadn’t wanted to come here, but one does not turn down the prestigious invitation and award that would reflect well, not only on her, but on the University, her boss had insisted. She had put herself to bed at a reasonable hour, SVU marathon on the TV, promising herself to be good, to sleep. But sleep would not come. From bed, to computer, to window she had paced until her unrest had driven her to throw on clothes, wrap her hair in a careless bun, and go out into the night. She had walked for hours in a desperate attempt to clear her head. Wrapped in thought, not really paying attention to where she was going, she looked up suddenly to find the morgue looming in front of her. She sighed heavily, and leaned on the post of the nearest streetlamp for support. What was she doing? Cold autumn wind cut into her bones as she wrapped her arms and her cardigan sweater more tightly around herself. Tires crunched, and stopped on the pavement behind her. A car door opened, and a familiar voice said